Welcome to Ms. Swanson's Webpage

Here you can find biweekly updates, newsletters, permission slips and more.  I will update the site regularly, so please check back.

Mar. 1

t's here!!  The Fun Fair is today and the halls will be bursting with excitement from 11-3:00.  

On a much different note, there has been some talk in 3rd grade about the upsetting Momo Challenge.  In our class, we talked about students talking to grown ups about anything that they see or hear that doesn't feel right or is upsetting.  This directly supports our Second Step curriculum dealing with child protection and safety that we have been learning about.  I've attached a link to the Today Show about this disturbing Momo Challenge for your information.  Thanks to those who have done the Second Step HW with your child.  These are important conversations to have at home.  

We had a good day yesterday with our stuffed animals and the extra time on Prodigy.  The kids were so responsible when I told them they we couldn't take away from our learning time and they brainstormed realistic alternatives, including a little extra time on Prodigy.  

Here are some talking points from the week:

  1. Describe the science experiments that we did this week.  Students should include talk about drops, the number of them along with the different things we dropped them on.
  2. What are you reading in your book club?  Who is a main character and what would be one of their character traits and why (evidence from the book).
  3. What happened in the Black History Month Assembly?  Who performed? What did we sing?

Enjoy the weekend and good luck with the Cake Walk!!

Feb. 27

Just a quick note about our upcoming opinion writing piece.  We are going to do one final piece about something significant that students want to change or someone who is significant to them, beyond who we've written about.  We brainstormed a list of topics today and the students did a great job with that as a class.  

Now for the challenge, they need  to pick one topic to write about.  We listed three topics in our writing notebooks and (hopefully) put a star by one that we plan to develop.  I'm asking that today, you ask your 3rd grader what they chose and what are reasons someone should care about it or what are their ideas for improving a tough situation.  One student mentioned that we probably can't solve an enormous problem, but we can make it better.  

Here's to a better world through the eyes of 3rd graders

Feb. 15

I hope you're enjoying the long weekend.  

The newsletter is attached.  Please note and read an important article about the IAR test and motivation slips.  I don't know if I was clear enough about motivation slips.  They are simply notes of encouragement (or silliness) that students receive from friends or family members each day they test.  Based on reactions in prior years, your student will love them.  Typically, the students save all their notes and will sometime during the week take them out and reread all of them.  It's very sweet.  There's a direction sheet in the envelope that you'll receive soon.  And..shhhh..they are a surprise (unless they've heard about them from older sibs or friends).  

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and keep warm!

Newsletter 2.15.19

Feb. 8

We ended the week on a very positive note!  We've been really productive these last few days and it felt good to be back on our regular schedule!  With that said, please note that next week we are off on Friday, 2/15, and then the following Monday for Presidents' Day, 2/18.  

Yesterday the students took home their End of Module Math test from Module 3.  If your 3rd grader hasn't brought it back yet, please send it back signed on Monday.  

Talking points from the week:

1.  We started a unit on the Underground Railroad today.  Please ask your 3rd grader what they know about it so far.  (This will probably focus on what it is.)

2.  We saw a performance from Opera for the Young this week.  Please ask what they liked about the performance.  The whole school was an excellent audience and congratulations to Josh, Claire, and Luca for participating in the Opera Chorus!

3.  We started a new Reading unit about characters and character traits.  Please ask what your student is reading, what character are they focusing on, and what traits they have identified so far.  

4.  We also started a new writing unit on opinion writing.  We focused on things that can be improved and important people in our lives.  Please ask your child who we wrote about as a class and what happened in response to what we did!

Valentine's Day is on Thurs.  This weekend might be a great time to write valentines.  I'll attach our list of names.  It went home last week on pink paper.

Have a good weekend and keep warm!!

Jan. 25

We hung right in there with the crazy weather!  We are taking extra "Go Noodle" breaks to keep us from going too stir crazy.  

Our Book Reports are due on Monday.  Hopefully, the kids have finished their book and have a good start on their project.  It could be a perfect weekend to be stuck inside working on it.  I hope it's enjoyable.

Talking points from the week:

1.  If you don't know what Go Noodle is, please ask!

2.  How is your peace sign project going and who are you reading/ writing about?

3.  What is your free choice Book Creator project about?

Have a good weekend and stay warm!

Jan. 18

I hope you heard about our exciting day on Thursday when we shared our communities.  The students did a very nice job talking about their work and staying focused throughout the class visits. Thanks to those of you who were able to join us. Hopefully they showed you the pictures that they took on their iPads if you weren't there! 

I was absent today and I hope you also heard positive things about the 3rd grade writing share.  I anticipate that it went very well also.

The newsletter is attached and I think we all are looking forward to a calmer week.  Remember we don't have school on Monday in honor of Dr. King.

Enjoy the long weekend

Jan. 12

Message from Principal Robinson 


First, thank you to everyone that has reached out with your concerns regarding the current third-grade class size. I appreciated your feedback. Please know we have closely monitored this concern since the beginning of the school year and have had discussions regarding a solution that is best for our young scholars for the following school year with all appropriate stakeholders.

I will continue to keep all third-grade families updated as we begin to finalize logistical details for next year. It is my goal to ensure every child at Whittier is placed in a safe and positive learning environment that is conducive to their educational success.


Please let me know if you have any additional questions via email, [email protected].


Thank you,

We had a very productive week!  Our communities are coming along very nicely.  We have tentatively scheduled Thurs, 1/17, in the afternoon, as the day families and younger classes can come and see them.  I'll send the specific time and confirm that date on Monday.  
The students took home their iPads this weekend.  Please make sure they come back fully charged.  They should also take some time to work on / proofread their Informational Writing Book this weekend.  We will share these with our 3rd grade peers on Friday.
Our Book Reports are due on Jan. 28.  Some students took home their Planning Sheet.  I'm attaching it here too.  
Talking points:
1.  What kind of community are you building and what have you contributed to it?
2.  Who are you reading about for our Changemaker (Biography) project?  Why is that person important?
3.  Are there more things that you can add to your Info. Writing?  Maybe some pictures and captions, Fast Facts, develop your chapters more?
Have a good weekend!

Jan. 9

We are off and running!  It's been a good week with new projects and building our communities.  I hope you've heard about them!  

We didn't go outside today because of the cold weather.  But, I also realized that a lot of kids didn't have gloves and/or a hat today.  Please make sure that your child comes to school dressed for the cold.  It really helps helps us focus if we are able to go outside.  If you need anything, please let me know.

I also heard that there were problem logging into Prodigy math last night.  I just met with our tech person about this.  Students should log in through Google once they have accessed the Prodigy site.  Then they will need to put in their complete school email and password which I will send home tomorrow.  Unfortunately, you can't access this program through Clever.  I hope this strategy works.

Have a good evening.

Jan. 5

Welcome back!  I hope you all had a happy holiday season and are enjoying the start  of the new year.

A couple of reminders for Monday:

  • Please help your 3rd grader to remember to bring their iPad fully charged.
  • Hopefully they have worked on their Winter Break Journal on Book Creator.  They are supposed to have done 5 entries over break.  We probably won't have time to share these until Tuesday.  
  • If you replenished any supplies your child needed, please send them in on Monday.

I look forward to seeing all of the kids soon!  We're into the next phase of the year--hard to believe that it's Jan. already!

Enjoy your day tomorrow!

Dec. 22

Happy Winter Break!

I hope you heard about the very pleasant day we had yesterday!  We all enjoyed the movie and our treats and our compliment presents.  The students did a great job of hanging in there for the last day of school!

Everyone went home with their iPads yesterday.  They are to write five entries in their Winter Break Journal.  They can also do any of the math apps we use or work on their non-fiction writing.  Please supervise their iPad use and monitor how much time your 3rd grader is  spending on it.  They've done pretty well with them using them appropriately and we want to keep it positive with school related use only.  

We have our second book report scheduled for Jan. 22, but I'm going to delay it for a week until Mon., Jan. 28.  Break would be a great time read the book and decide on a project or at least begin thinking about it.  If you have any questions about a book your 3rd grader is thinking about, please email me and we can figure things out.  

The newsletter is attached with many more details.  

Have a wonderful, restful, and fun break!

Newsletter 12.21.19

Dec. 20

We have been very productive for the last few days, but in unusual ways!  It's been fun and it all culminates for us tomorrow!

Speaking of which, we earned our last letter in the French word magnifique today. (Thanks to Luca for providing us with the words in French!)  Because of that we are going to watch the Kit Movie tomorrow.  We read one of the books in this American Girl series around Thanksgiving and we will compare the book we read with the movie.  I was also planning on having a few butter cookies (nut free) in the afternoon, but the students don't know about the treat. Please let me know if you have a concern about cookies.   

Also tomorrow's a day to wear our new Whittier shirts!  The gym will be a sea of blue and yellow as we gather for our Winter Sing.  (Unfortunately, there isn't room for parents or families at this event.)  

Looking forward to tomorrow!

Dec. 14

One more week and excitement is building for break and to start our communities!  Thanks for all the recyclables that the students have brought in.  We're in good shape to start next week.
Next week is a Student Council sponsored Spirit Week.  Here are the week's events:
Monday: Crazy Hair Day
Tuesday: Dress like your favorite famous person
Wednesday:  Dress like a Whittier staff member
Thursday: Twin Day (we will make a class plan so no one feels left out.  Of course, if someone wants to do something with a buddy or two that's fine.)
Friday: Wear our new Whittier T-shirts 
The students did not bring home their iPads this weekend.  Thanks for your support with them.
Talking points from the week:
1.  What type of community are you going to build?  (Please talk about the vocab: urban, suburban and rural).  
2.  Please count by 6s and 7s.
3.  What non-fiction books did you read this week?  Can you tell me a main idea from one of them?
4.  What is your non-fiction writing about?  How far along are you?
Have a great weekend!!

Dec. 8

I hope that you heard all about The Nutcracker yesterday.  It was really good and held everyone's attention!!  

Next week we are going to start planning for our communities that we will build out of recycled materials.  Please start to send in clean recycled boxes like cereal or cracker boxes, TP or paper towel  tubes, really anything that is a shape that can be used in a urban, suburban or rural setting. No glass containers and no milk containers.  When we bring things in, they will go into a pile that will be available to the whole class to be shared. If someone has something unique for their setting, please have them talk to me about this item so I can set it aside for them. The students won't know until the end of next week what team they'll be on.  

Talking points from the week:

1.  What part did you really like in the Nutcracker?  What were some of the costumes like?  What were some of the movements that conveyed certain emotions like surprise, excitement or fear?

2.  We built tops earlier in the week. What was your design for a top and how did it spin.

3.  What non-fiction book/s did you read this week?  Can you tell about a main idea and some of the details?  

Have a good weekend!

Nov. 27

Welcome back!  I hope you all enjoyed the extra long break.  It was good to be back and to be together!

Please know that we will go outside in the cold, unless its dangerously cold, and a few kids came to school inadequately dressed to play outside.  Please make sure your child has a winter coat, hat, waterproof gloves/mittens, boots, and snow pants.  If you have difficulty getting something, please let me know.  Our biggest problem today was cold hands.  Please ask your child about their gloves and specifically what they are wearing in school.  Some kids had waterproof gloves in their lockers, but wore thin ones instead, saying there was something they didn't like about the waterproof ones.  

Thanks for your support

Nov. 20

I thought yesterday's email would be it, but I have to share events from our day with some talking points.....

  • We are learning that math is full of patterns and today we worked with Pascal's triangle.  Ask about the patterns we found in it and how we could continue to grow the triangle. Everyone should have taken their paper home.  It was very engaging!
  • In Science, we had the challenge of making a cup/s roll straight down a ramp and we used pennies as weights.  Ask how your child was able to do this.  Also ask about any failed attempts.
  • Hopefully, you saw the accordion book we made about the Wampanoag Nation and the Pilgrims.  I showed the students how to access more things on this website:  https://www.plimoth.org/learn/just-kids    Go to Learn, the Just for Kids.  Anything under Just for Kids is interesting, but the last one is really good along with Talk Like a Pilgrim.  The videos we watched are in the Virtual Field Trip

Enjoy your holiday!!

Nov. 19

We had a wonderful feast today!!  The students ate very well and seemed to really enjoy themselves!  All the committees did a great job cooking, everyone waited to start eating until all the food was served, and almost everything was eaten! We also went around and said a couple of meaningful things that we are thankful for.  It was very touching!!

*Tomorrow is a school-wide PJ day to celebrate the end of the first trimester.*

We are gathering information from the Plimoth Plantation website that we are putting in an accordion book.  The site is very interesting--for kids and adults!! We won't get through everything tomorrow so here's the address in case your 3rd grader wants to check more out over the break:  https://plimoth.org/learn/just-kids   

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!  I wish you relaxing and fun time with family and friends.

Nov. 18

Tomorrow's our big day--our soup feast!!  Here are the details:

  • We are going to eat toward the end of the lunch hour so the table setting committee can set up the room. 
  • Since we are eating later, consider sending your child with a snack to eat during lunch.  (When we ate a little later at the Morton Arboretum, there were lots of comments about "starving to death.") 
  • We could use 2-3 parents to help us serve from about 11:30-12:30 (maybe 1:00ish).  Please let me know if you are available. Thanks in advance!
  • Kids will drink water (water bottles) or milk (lunch room).  
  • I keep forgetting to ask... if kids could bring in $1 it would help defray the cost of our feast that would be great.  

We've been having some chilly hands and ears with outdoor recess.  Please make sure your child has proper cold weather gear.  If I can help in someway, please let me know.  

Enjoy the rest of your day!

Nov. 10

Yesterday the students took home their Math study guide to review over the weekend.  We will take our Mid-Module assessment on Monday.  Hopefully this review won't take more than 15-20 min. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about this material.  

I hope you've heard about our upcoming Thanksgiving feast.  The corn muffin committee met yesterday during lunch and did a great job with our corn muffins!  They are in the freezer.  We cook early because of the challenge of getting an oven closer to the date.  On Monday the applesauce committee will meet and the soup committee later in the week.  

Talking points from the week....

1.  Please ask the students to tell you the time on an analog clock--with a face.  Most of them need the practice.  You can also ask them to tell you what time it will be in 20 min. or 45 minutes.  We do keep this within the hour, but if your 3rd grader is ready for a challenge, you can go beyond the hour.  

2.  Ask what interesting stories the students heard during the writing celebration.

3.  Most of the book reports are done.  Ask if they heard about any books they would be invested in reading.  I've heard some conversations about this.  

Have a good weekend

Nov. 4

Good morning!

Sending a friendly reminder that tomorrow's our PJs and stuffed animals day!  

We are also going to begin preparing our Thanksgiving feast this week.  We are going to break into committees to make chicken noodle soup, applesauce, and corn muffins during our lunch hour.  Please let me know if your child is a vegetarian.  

Happy Sunday

Oct. 28

Yesterday the students took home their Math study guide to review over the weekend.  We will take our Mid-Module assessment on Monday.  Hopefully this review won't take more than 15-20 min. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about this material.  

I hope you've heard about our upcoming Thanksgiving feast.  The corn muffin committee met yesterday during lunch and did a great job with our corn muffins!  They are in the freezer.  We cook early because of the challenge of getting an oven closer to the date.  On Monday the applesauce committee will meet and the soup committee later in the week.  

Talking points from the week....

1.  Please ask the students to tell you the time on an analog clock--with a face.  Most of them need the practice.  You can also ask them to tell you what time it will be in 20 min. or 45 minutes.  We do keep this within the hour, but if your 3rd grader is ready for a challenge, you can go beyond the hour.  

2.  Ask what interesting stories the students heard during the writing celebration.

3.  Most of the book reports are done.  Ask if they heard about any books they would be invested in reading.  I've heard some conversations about this.  

Have a good weekend

Oct. 21

Happy Sunny Sunday!

Earlier this week, the students brought home the info. sheet about our book reports/projects and a planning sheet.  There are a lot of different types of projects, but with all projects, the students must do a summary of the story.  If the ending is a spoiler, they can write something like "you must read it to find out what happened", but this should only happen for the end of the story.  The purple planning sheet is due tomorrow, Monday.

I'm attaching the latest conference sheet, but please check to make sure your time is correct.  I had some trouble saving the latest draft last night and had to put names back in.  So....

  1. Talking points for the week...
  2. 1.  What map features did you include in your treasure map?  (something like mountains, a river, a hospital, etc.)
  3. 2.  Ask your child to tell time on a clock with a face (an analog clock), if you have one!
  4. 3.  Ask about the book they are reading in school and ask if they've found challenging words in it.  If there are challenging words, ask how they figured out what the words mean--see possible strategies in the newsletter.
  5. Don't forget the annual Pumpkin Festival--Oct. 29 and 30 and the field trip permission slip and money.

Newsletter 10.21.18

Morton Arboretum Permission Sli[

Book Report/Project Guidelines

Book Report/Project Planning Sheet

Oct. 5

First of all I have to apologize....there's a little HW this weekend, this long weekend.  We are gong to have a test on Module 1 in Math on Tues. and the students should have brought home their Study Guides to review.  I imagine that this is one of the first tests of this kind that our third graders have taken, so a review of 20 minutes or so with a grown up and the message that we can spend a little time to prepare ourselves for a test will be helpful.  I always say to kids, before a test of any kind, that I hope they enjoy it!  A test doesn't have to be equated with stress and negative feelings and we can begin to set that tone.

  1. Here are some talking points for school conversation starters from our week:
  2. 1.  We read the book Encounter to help us understand Indigenous Peoples' Day.  Please ask what it was about and how one group treated the other group.
  3. 2.  Our current read aloud is Stone Fox.  We all are very engaged.  Please ask about that book, too, and ask your 3rd grader to predict what is going to happen.  Tuesday's chapter is called "The Race".
  4. 3.  In writing, everyone has chosen a "seed story" that they are growing.  Please ask about the story and ask your child to retell the story to you--even more than once--to help them develop it.  Things to add in retellings can include: details, dialogue, and description. 

We had a particularly positive end to our week!  Looking forward to next week and the Fun Run on Wed.  We run from 12:55-1:30.

Attached is the newsletter--please take a few minutes to read it.

Enjoy the long weekend!

Newsletter 10.5.18

Sept. 21

This coming Tuesday is Picture Day and unfortunately we are the last class in the afternoon to get our pictures takes.  Hopefully, they'll be ahead of schedule and we'll go at an earlier time.  If you want your child to fix their hair before their picture, please make sure they bring their own tools.  We won't be sharing anything!

Newsletter 9.21.18

Sept. 11

Sending a friendly reminder that tomorrow night is our annual Curriculum Night/ Open House.  From 6:30-7:00, teachers in K-2 will present in their classrooms, 7:00-7:30 will be time to tour around the building with your students, and 7:30-8:00 will be classroom presentations by teachers of grades 3-5.  I hope you can come, but if not, please let me know and I will direct you to the information that I will be presenting.  

Also this week's spelling list is still a whole class list.  With disruptions to our routine (MAP testing, Bus Safety Presentation) we didn't get through enough of our weekly routine to be ready to handle this with independence.  We might be ready next week--I'll let you know. 

Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow night!

Sept. 4

The students took the MAP Math test today and they worked very hard, were focused and very respectful of one another.  What more can we ask for of 8 year olds.  

I sent home a whole class spelling list today.  It will be hard for some kids, but the point of this list is to learn our routines together in class before we break off into different spelling/ word work groups.  All of the spelling HW should be done on lined notebook paper.  I modeled how to do everything, but please let me know if there are questions.  

Aug. 31

Happy Labor Day Weekend!  We did it--made it through our first full week of school.  ☺  Attached is our first bi-weekly newsletter.  Please take some time to read it.  Our newsletters will have information and updates that aren't in other places.   One notable item next week is MAP testing.  We will be taking our Math MAP test on Tues., 9/4 and the Reading test on Thurs., 9/6.  Please make sure that your child has a good breakfast, leaves home with a hug and a positive, can-do attitude.  

Enjoy the long weekend!

Newsletter 8/31/18

Aug. 29

I made a mistake.  Tonight's Math HW is p. 12 and 13 (not 11 and 12 as I had written on the board which they copied into their Planners).

They also brought home their Writing Notebooks to decorate the covers.  They can decorate the front and back.  The goal is for students to have something to hopefully help jog their memories when they are lacking an idea and to generally make it beautiful.  I told them they could glue or tape on drawings, photos, even magazine pictures on the cover.  They can also work on this over the weekend if they need more time.  But, we will be using the notebooks in class tomorrow and Friday so if they want to continue working on it, it will need to go back and forth.

Our specials schedule is in place:

Mondays - Music and Spanish

Tuesdays - Library

Wednesdays - Music

Thursdays - Art and Spanish

Fridays - Gym

Aug. 22 - Day 1!!

I hope you heard about our day...we are off to a very positive start!  Many thanks to the parents who stayed this morning to help us organize our supplies.  We accomplished a lot quickly thanks to them.  We  also had our annual all school assembly where all of the staff members were introduced to the students.  It was great to have Mr. Robinson, our new principal, leading this!!

Throughout the day, we worked on learning new routines, jobs, and expectations and started  some academic work.  Everyone was very focused when we were silently reading today;  we are deliberately building reading stamina. 

I sent home "Brown Bag HW" with directions stapled on the bag today.  This project will be due on Monday.  I hope the kids have fun with this.  There was also a questionnaire for grownups.  Please send that back as soon as possible.

Finally, I will be absent on Friday taking my youngest daughter to college!  Gale Liebman, a retired teacher, will be our sub.  The kids will be in very good hands!

Thanks for all your support. Looking forward to Day 2!!

Aug. 18, 2018

Welcome to 3rd grade, Room 204, Ms. Swanson's class!

I look forward to meeting your third grader and (maybe) you next Wednesday, Aug. 22.  We will have a busy, fun and meaningful year as we work together as a classroom family.  As in past years, these first days will be slow and deliberate so we can get to know each other and build consistent, positive routines.  

I hope you've found the supply list; please let me know if you are struggling with getting something for any reason.  I have one additional supply request--a 1.5" binder (or something close to that).  We won't need it until later in September and feel free to send in an old one.  We will use it for a portfolio of our work. 

Please keep in touch with me as school is always most beneficial when students along with their families work in partnership with their teacher.  Email is usually the best way to contact me.

I am also looking for a couple of parents to stay for about 30-40 min. on Wed. morning to help us organize our supplies and our lockers.  Please let me know if you'd be able to help out.  

Wishing all of you a happy ending to summer break--

Georgina (aka Ms. Swanson)

P. S. We line up at the north end of the building near the dumpsters.  

Parent Questionnaire

Summer Letter

***General Information for Parents and Guardians***

Classroom Instruction

Homework Routines

Classroom Happenings

Snack Share Schedule

Diretions and Due Dates for Book Reports / Book Projects

BirthdayCelebrations at Whittier

Classroom Volunteer Sheet

Second Step Parent Letter